Friday, June 24, 2016

Feel Good Friday - Human Rights Campaign

Since June is LGBT pride month, and in light of the recent shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, we're spending this Feel Good Friday with the Human Rights Campaign.

As stated on their website, "HRC envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community." With 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide, HRC is the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans.

Founded by Steve Endean in 1980, and originally called the Human Rights Campaign Fund, HRC was a political action committee designed to provide financial support to political candidates who supported gay and lesbian civil rights issues.

In 1995 they dropped Fund from their name, adopted the current logo and expanded their research, communications, marketing and public relations functions. Victories of the HRC include the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" law, passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and legalizing same sex marriage.

Current efforts are focused on turning their headquarters into a memorial for the Orlando shooting victims and advocating gun violence prevention policies. Their motto is, "love conquers hate" and they are advocating policy changes to increase the love.

You can join a long list of celebrities, and other cool people, in supporting HRC by making a donation, liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @HRC. If you don't like any of those options, you can always go shopping. My favorite item from their store is this hat!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Feel Good Friday - Global Shapers - Bishkek

One more Kyrgyzstan-focused Feel Good Friday before I leave - tomorrow!

Global Shapers Community is, according to the website, "a network of city-based Hubs developed and led by young leaders between 20 and 30 years old who want to develop their leadership potential towards serving society. To that end, Hubs undertake local projects to improve their communities." An initiative of the World Economic Forum, there are currently 453 Hubs worldwide.

Global Shapers - Bishkek is a group of 10 women and men working in the capital of Kyrgyzstan. They are described as "young people who are exceptional in their potential, their achievements and their drive to make a contribution to their communities." It's no exaggeration.

I clicked randomly on the profile of Jenny Ensi Tszie. She came to New York to get an MSW from Columbia University then returned to Kyrgyzstan to advise the Minister of Economy on strategic investments, run a consulting company for small and medium investors and co-found a youth volunteering group to help victim families and children in the conflict zone. Oh, and she also speaks Kyrgyz, Chinese, English, Russian and is learning Arabic.

Two examples of projects the shapers organize include Big Brothers Big Sisters, a program that pairs university students with high school students for mentoring and Clean City, Clean Bishkek which involved a flashmob style performance to support the Eco-Education festival.

To keep up with the group, you can like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @ShapersBishkek. As for me, I'll be watching for the flashmob when my plane lands.